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How to do a Strict Muscle-Up to increase your strength and improve your performance in CrossFit WODs.

When a WOD calls for a Ring Muscle-up, you can do a Strict Ring Muscle-Up as shown in the video and described below or a Kipping Ring Muscle-Up, unless the movement is specifically identified in the WOD.

Set up for a Strict Muscle-Up

  • Beginners find that using a false grip on the rings assists in getting the mechanics down and the feeling of turning your hands over easier at first, (you achieve this by having the rings run diagonally across your hand from index finger to center of wrist) a “broken wrist” position is the only way to maintain this false grip through multiple reps.
  • Dead hang from the rings with elbows fully locked out.

Points of Performance for the Strict Muscle-Up

  • Lean back and keep the hands close together as arms pull the rings to the sternum.
  • With an aggressive sit up, keeping rings as close to your body as possible, pull through the rings by driving the elbows back into the bottom of a ring dip.
  • Lock out your elbows at the top of the ring dip to complete the rep.
  • Drop back down into the bottom of the dip and lean back extending your arms to the starting position for your next rep.

Tips and Tricks for the Strict Muscle-Up

  • Progressions for such a complex movement are recommended
  • Focus on folding your body into a V and aggressively opening the hips to drive your hips to the rings.
  • Do not bend arms until your hips are at or very near the rings on your pull.

Additional Instruction

A muscle-up is one of the most coveted movements we do in CrossFit. A muscle-up can be a demonstration of beauty, gymnastic skill, strength, and excellence. It can also be a ticket straight to the ER so the doctor can reattach your pectoral muscle or repair portions of your shoulder complex. Fear not, Wodstar has your back! Just as a prerequisite will allow you to advance to the next class in a college course, we have comprised a list of strength and skills prerequisites to set you on the proper path to safely achieving your first muscle-up. Okay…this is what we need from you….

First, you must be able to do 6 to 8 strict, chin over the bar pullups. The shoulder complex is in an extremely vulnerable state when beginner athletes attempt dynamic gymnastic movements such as muscle-ups, kipping pull-ups, and handstand push-ups. Without enough strength in this area, you could get hurt.

Second, you must be able to do 2 to 3 strict ring dips. Who wants to get to the bottom of the muscle-up and not be able to complete the rep?

Third, turn over progression. Using a band across a set of rings at dip height, sit across the band as you would in a swing. With long arms, hands in a false grip, and body rigid in a tight hollow rock parallel to the ground, begin to slowly fold at the hip. Dynamically open the hips and activate a pull with your lats while sending the hips to the rings. With a violent sit up and rings tight to the body, roll over into the bottom of your dip. Elbows should stay in close to the body.

This progression will teach you two things a) how to properly recruit the hip and just how important it is in performing a muscle-up, and b) how it feels to turnover on the rings and the importance of keeping the rings close. If you fall from 1 foot off the ground you have a better chance of avoiding injury.

Now your ready for the big day! Go get em Wodstar!

P.S. Don’t forget to stretch and mobilize the shoulders. Warm muscle are safe muscles.